Vachon surprises at Paris-Bourges
Frenchman holds off sprinters
Last Updated: 04/10/12 4:42pm
Florian Vachon: Dug deep in the closing stages to take a big win at Paris-Bourges
Florian Vachon upset the big-name sprinters with a late attack to take an impressive victory at Paris-Bourges.
The Frenchman (Bretagne-Schuller) powered clear inside the final kilometre after a bunch kick had looked a near-certainty into Bourges.
Following Vachon home were pre-race favourites Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano), the in-form sprinters kept off the top step at the death.
The race had been turned on its head after a large escape group featuring a number of teams went clear heading into the final third of the race.
Inside the final 10 kilometres a four-man move was hunted down by the elite front faction but reduced number of the break were unable to prevent Vachon slipping through the cracks after a tough 190.4km test.
Inside the opening 20km a three-man move was allowed to go clear with Gregor Gazvoda (AG2R-La Mondiale), Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) linking up to good effect.
With the gap to the trio tipping over the five minute mark FDJ-BigMat hit the front, with help at the head of the pack from Argos-Shimano as both outfits looked to tee up their respective sprinters.
With just a shade over 60km remaining the peloton split into two distinct groups following the second ascent of the Graveron – Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) finding himself up front among a 34-man group with a number of big names.
On the run for home frequent attacks tried to shake things up in the front group, Gael Malacarne (Bretagne-Schuller) and Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) bridging across to the two remaining escapees after Gazvoda had fallen off the pace.
The four riders held a slender 30-second advantage over the chase group, while in behind the peloton looking around for a controlling influence with so many teams represented up the road.
With the lead four riders reeled in with 6km still remaining and Degenkolb and Bouhanni still present up front it looked like a straight fight between the young duo, but Vachon clearly had other ideas to take a big win in his home country.